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No More False Equivalence: Israel Chooses War Over Peace
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No one is blameless in the ongoing violent conflict between Israel and stateless Palestinians. Both sides target and kill civilian noncombatants. But let’s put an end to false equivalence. “A pox on both houses” is not a morally or politically sound response to the one-sided war between Israel and Hamas.

Israel wants war. If it wanted peace, it would have it.

Any attempt to assign all or most of the blame to one side in a long-running drama like the crisis in the Middle East is inherently pointless. No matter what arbitrary date or event in history you begin with in order to argue that it all started with this or that atrocity, someone can point to an earlier episode to which said act was a justifiable retaliation. Then there’s reality. Practicality and geography dictate that Israeli Jews and Palestinians (who are not all Arabs) have to live in the same country or (future) pair of countries and are economically intertwined and therefore must figure out a way to get along. The question for them and for the part of the world vested in the issue is: Which side has to compromise — and how — in order to achieve lasting peace?

In any conflict between the strong/rich and the weak/poor, the burden of compromise falls disproportionately upon the former for a simple reason: The latter have fewer concessions — financially, territorially, militarily — to make. The ongoing deluge of Israeli propaganda doesn’t obscure the obvious truth: If there is to be peace, Israel will have to meet the representatives of a future Palestinian nation-state 95% of the way.

Israeli citizens have fallen victims to Hamas rockets. Every death is a tragedy. No one should die that way. Unlike its citizens, however, the state of Israel is no victim. In this struggle, Israel is the clear aggressor.

Israel enjoys every advantage over its adversary. It has a seat at the United Nations; formidable moral authority created by its founding by the U.N. as a refuge for victims of the Holocaust; and the most powerful ally on Earth, the United States, which gives it \$4 billion a year. Israel’s GDP is 13 times that of Palestine. The 15-year-old Israeli naval blockade of Gaza has driven the unemployment rate to a staggering 49%. Israel’s is 5%. Though many countries recognize Palestine as a state, it is nearly impossible for Palestinians to travel between the three Palestinian territories of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, much less overseas. Israel agreed to allow travel between Palestine’s noncontiguous regions in 2005 but has always ignored its commitment. Israel is a fully integrated part of the international community.

Israel steals Palestinian land. “Israel’s settlement enterprise and related infrastructure, including roads that are off limits to Palestinians, cover approximately 42% of the occupied West Bank,” according to the Institute for Middle East Understanding.

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Israel’s F-35 jet fighters and sophisticated missile guidance systems reflect its extraordinary military prowess. Neither Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, nor Fatah, which runs the West Bank, has any air force. Hamas’ Qassam rockets are unguided pieces of crap that are easily intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome system. As a result, death counts between the two sides are always lopsided. In the summer of 2014, “more than 2,100 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip, along with 66 Israeli soldiers and 7 civilians in Israel,” according to the BBC. At this writing, 192 Gazans and 10 Israelis have been killed in this month’s battles.

Regardless of where you stand on the existence of Israel as a Jewish state or who is more to blame, it is important for the sake of logic and reason to ignore the silliest and most intellectually bankrupt lines of propaganda used by the wealthy and powerful Israelis to justify bombing the desperately poor people who live in one of the most densely populated places in the world.

Foremost among these is the human-shield argument used to give cover to actions like destroying four high-rise buildings in Gaza that Israel claimed were used by Hamas. “Those buildings also contained homes and the offices of local and international news media organizations,” noted The New York Times. “The building contained civilian media offices, which Hamas hides behind and deliberately uses as human shields,” the Israel Defense Forces explained in a tweet, which probably doesn’t match the coverage of the Associated Press or Al Jazeera disrupted by the blasts.

Occupiers from the Nazis in Europe to the Americans in Iraq always complain that resistance fighters hide among the civilian population. Why, they complain, don’t these cowards put on proper military uniforms, build easy-to-see military bases and come outside to fight like real men? The question is so prima-facie silly that leftists dismiss it with an eye roll. But right-wing corporate media repeatedly give the human-shield argument so much currency that it requires a direct response. So here it is.

Outarmed and outmanned indigenous resistance organizations like Hamas and Islamic jihad do not “hide” within the civilian population. They live among the people, as Mao wrote in 1937, as a fish swims in the sea. Che Guevara echoed the sentiment, noting that “the guerrilla fighter needs full help from the people” or he will be ratted out to the authorities. Hamas fighters often are civilians, driving a taxi or teaching school during the day and fighting at night.

If an oppressed people like the residents of Gaza could support a regular army and had the manpower, training and material to construct and protect a military base, they wouldn’t be oppressed or occupied. Israeli troops couldn’t invade them. They could defend their territory from airstrikes and retaliate effectively.

If the Palestinians were able to fight “fairly,” as the IDF and its allies in the media say they would prefer, they would be full-fledged citizens of a fully sovereign Republic of Palestine; they would have a seat at the U.N.; and none of this would be happening again.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Gaza, Israel, Israel/Palestine 
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  1. God. I tend to agree with this guy more than most of you.

    But he shore has been full of shit lately.

  2. meamjojo says:

    If an oppressed people like the residents of Gaza could support a regular army and had the manpower, training and material to construct and protect a military base, they wouldn’t be oppressed or occupied. Israeli troops couldn’t invade them. They could defend their territory from airstrikes and retaliate effectively.

    If the Palestinians were able to fight “fairly,” as the IDF and its allies in the media say they would prefer, they would be full-fledged citizens of a fully sovereign Republic of Palestine; they would have a seat at the U.N.; and none of this would be happening again.

    And your point is? None of that is going to happen for the Palestinian’s. They will continue to be preyed upon by their corrupt politicians and terrorist organizations like Hamas & the PIJ until they stand-up and take control of their destiny.

    There will never be a 2-state solution. Eventually, the Palestinian’s will be pushed out of Gaza and the West Bank into Jordan, Syria or Lebanon.

  3. BuelahMan says:

    The place Rall still fails is acknowledging that it is the Talmudic jewishness that causes this desire to rule Eretz Isreal (and the world).

    It is the jew that is the problem. Not Israel.

    • Replies: @botazefa
  4. Hans says:

    “Israel” chose war a long damn time ago. Surely, Ted, you’ve bothered to read “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”???

    Ben Freedman laid out their murderous agenda in 1961 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhFRGDyX48c

    Alison Weir’s must read – https://againstourbetterjudgment.com/

  5. botazefa says:
    @BuelahMan

    It is the jew that is the problem. Not Israel.

    It is the White that are the problem, not America?

    • Replies: @Hans
    , @BuelahMan
  6. botazefa says:

    Ted, would you support a two state solution of the race problems in the United Stated continue logically on their path?

  7. ATBOTL says:

    Why Israel lost this war
    As criticism of the war shifts to a foundational critique of Israel itself, Israel can’t afford to not make its case. This it can do ​only by reclaiming the moral high ground

    https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/why-israel-lost-this-war/

    Israel is panicking guys, their leaders know they lost this war very, very badly. By the end of this year, we should see huge increases in support for Palestinians on the left. To win though, the pro-Palestinian movement needs to influence conservatives too.

  8. Hans says:
    @botazefa

    No, Bot, the people of color have realized that whitey is rayciss so they be all going back where they came from. don’t you read the papers?

  9. Rahan says:

    Regardless of where you stand on the existence of Israel as a Jewish state or who is more to blame, it is important for the sake of logic and reason to ignore the silliest and most intellectually bankrupt lines of propaganda used by the wealthy and powerful Israelis to justify bombing the desperately poor people who live in one of the most densely populated places in the world.

    The sane left is on the verge of repackaging Jews as “the rich oppressor class”, thus turning on them their own “fellow white people everything is our fault our moral duty is to give up and die out” shtick.
    This needs encouragement.
    Just like white hetero men, when constantly challenged on toxic masculinity, toxic heteronormativity, and toxic whiteness, are encouraged to grow and transcend their inherent limitations and “defects” (although in the current lopsided environment many are pushed beyond breaking point into either castrated submission or angry lashing out), the same should apply to all other groups, Jews very much included.
    Without an environment that constantly challenges and contains for example “toxic jewishness”, only rare members of the group make an innate moral choice to transcend their toxicity, or even to recognize that it exists.
    If the struggle with toxic jewishness can be repackaged in class terms, as well as the struggle with toxic gayness and toxic femininity, thus motivating the members of these groups to start paying attention to themselves and control their own toxicity, the world will only win.

  10. Rahan says:

    If an oppressed people like the residents of Gaza could support a regular army and had the manpower, training and material to construct and protect a military base, they wouldn’t be oppressed or occupied. Israeli troops couldn’t invade them. They could defend their territory from airstrikes and retaliate effectively.

    If the Palestinians were able to fight “fairly,” as the IDF and its allies in the media say they would prefer, they would be full-fledged citizens of a fully sovereign Republic of Palestine; they would have a seat at the U.N.; and none of this would be happening again.

    Now here the writer is still apparently not ready to accept that the USA is a golem, and that middle eastern countries that have armies and air forces not easy picking for Israel, get the USA “guided democracy” or “let’s help these dreamy freedom fighters over there” treatment instead…

    Syria, Iraq, and Libya all had armies and air forces at one point, and this did not save them, because Israel simply used their bigger more muscular proxies.

  11. BuelahMan says:
    @botazefa

    I didn’t ask, I made a statement. The answer to your question is ‘no’.

    • Replies: @botazefa
  12. botazefa says:
    @BuelahMan

    You wrote:

    It is the Jew that is the problem, not Israel.

    I asked the question:

    Is it the White that is the problem, not America.

    The purpose of which is to suggest that your position on Jews is the same as the anti-racist’s position on Whites. It’s the same blanket irrational hatred of a group of people based upon irrational assumptions that all members of the group share identical offensive traits.

    But you’d tell me the problem in America isn’t whites, it’s Jews and Black people. I’d counter that the problem in America is that the wealthy are allowed to manipulate people who are too intellectually lazy for nuance and too constitutionally cowardly to accept responsibility for their own failures. Such people are easily baited by anti-racists and anti-semites alike because they are eager to externalize, quick to envy.

    I’m not saying you are one of those people.

    • Replies: @BuelahMan
  13. BuelahMan says:
    @botazefa

    The jew is America’s problem, too. The jew is the world’s problem and always has been.

    But the subject was Israel and your desire to change the subject is telling.

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